Photoshop – My Thoughts on Editing | CT Maternity Photographer

So something has been bothering me lately – one of my brides who shall remain nameless, told me that when she saw some distant cousins recently they made the snarky comment to her of, “Oh you look nothing like your wedding photos”….

First of all, screw that person for being passive aggressive. Secondly, what the hell?! Oh I’m sorry, are we not all Kardashians that have professional hair and makeup every day of our lives? Chances are that is a NO for most of us in the real world. Therefore, yes, you are TOTALLY expected to look extra hot in your wedding photographs! Am I wrong?! There you are, all made up, in a gorgeous gown, JUST married to the man (or woman) of your dreams….most brides are literally glowing with happiness which also doesn’t hurt for great pictures!

But the part that bothered me the most is that my bride took it to heart and said “Yea, I must have been Photoshop-ed”.  Granted that most common consumers nowadays know that professional photographers use Photoshop or other editing tools to enhance their images, but it wasn’t always such common knowledge. But now that everyone knows that Photoshop exists, and heck, most people have some sort of editing software on their smartphones…we all just assume that photographers Photoshop everything and can fix anything in Photoshop and that every person is just airbrushed. Well that is NOT the case at all! I think a lot if not all new photographers rely heavily on Photoshop to fix things that they were not able to fix in camera or did not know how to fix in camera….and that’s ok! It’s all a learning curve. But the better you get at photography and seeing and using light, the less you need the editing tools. Do I still use Photoshop? Of course! I like to make my images look exactly how I envisioned them in my head and also prep them properly for the printing lab and online materials. I also am a female, and realize that we all have parts of our bodies that we’re insecure about – I do as much as I can during the shoot with posing and lighting to ensure that my ladies look fabulous, but sometimes double chins happen…and armpit rolls happen – especially during candid moments. So yes, I take care of my clients and nip and tuck where I think is necessary – I don’t aim to make people skinnier or to not look like themselves, but only to fix the things that are not always there so that they are the best version of themselves and their beauty shines! But I want my ladies to know that they really are that gorgeous – I don’t ever want someone walking away thinking they only look beautiful because of some software, it’s simply not true. I use these tools to enhance what is already there, not to completely alter the integrity of an image.

To illustrate my point, here is a self portrait I took of myself today in my studio – the top one is the “before” image, straight from the camera. The bottom one is the edited or “after” version. The differences are subtle but make a big difference to me (and I’m my own worst critic!). All that was done was a little touching up of my skin, smoothing out any “rolls”, and warming up the skin on my belly since it’s pale and blue-ish and hasn’t seen the sun in a looooooooong time. I also darkened the area on the wrap that covered my nipples because well no one wants to see that 😉 I still feel like this image looks like me, and more importantly it really represents how beautiful I feel while pregnant, no matter the weight gain.

I hope this gives you a little insight into what my process is and how I keep things simple. Each photographer is different and that is what makes us all unique, but don’t EVER let someone tell you that you don’t look like your photographs because really, they’re just mean girls who never grew up and are a tad bit jealous that they weren’t the ones looking gorgeous in front of the lens 🙂